Sunday, December 13, 2009

The (Cincinnati) Money Problem

I transferred from Ohio University to Northern Kentucky University last Spring, but didn't start my first semester at NKU until August of 2009. While I'm still studying photography, just not Photojournalism exclusively, I was required to take a fine art foundations class as part of my degree study. I think I'm one of a few in the class that isn't a fine arts major, really into fine art or an extremely critical prick (not that all fine arts majors, people in this class or people who appreciate art are "pricks," but lets just say there are a few classmates who are a little too full of themselves and their work).



Anyways, while I feel I will end up with a good grade in the class and learned a bit here and there, I feel I'll appreciate photography as an art and form of expression much more than I'll ever appreciate 2D composition. Despite that feeling, I still had to pass the class. For the final project we were given a "problem," which we have to "solve" by completing the project. The final project was to research different forms of world currency and develop our own. So long as our currency featured a list of requirements, it could be any theme we wanted and be done by any media. Since I'll always be better with a camera and photoshop than I am with a paintbrush, I decided to make my bills on the computer. The catch was that I could only use government symbols and my own photographs. I had already spent hundreds in art supplies and hours of my time on this class, I needed something I could get done effectively and cheaply. Something I knew well...so I chose "Cincinnati" as my theme. After brainstorming ideas and asking for ideas on Facebook and Twitter, this is what I came up with; my final Art 132 project:


"Commemorative Cincinnati Currency"
(Click for larger picture size)


Assignment Requirements:
- 3 Separate bills, front and back.
- 3 color scheme per bill.
- Must include a denomination.
- Must include a historical person or object.
- Must include a proof of authenticity.
- Must include a serial number.
- Must include an anti-counterfeit measure.
- Must include a date of issue.

1) The $1,788 "Juncta Juvant" bill:


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Front.


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Back.

Overall I wanted the bills to feature a somewhat muted, monochromatic base color like American money has, but I wanted there to always be a photograph in the background, something to look at. This was the first one I came up with. The bill is valued at $1,782 dollars to represent the year Cincinnati was founded (1782) and features a photograph of current mayor Mark Mallory on the front. The front also has city seal prominently in the center and the signature of "Treasurer" Milton Dohoney (script font substituted for signature) beneath the issue date. The blank space at the bottom left of the front of the bill, bottom right of the back of the bill, is an area that I cut out and replaced with a clear plastic. This is where the serial number would be printed. Plastic polymer is a common anti-counterfeit technique on currency, like in Australia. I put the plastic in on my final project, but it's not viewable here, because I'm too lazy to scan in the final ones.

The back of the bill features a base photograph of the Cincinnati riverfront with a firework exploding above it along with a merged image of the "Genius of Water" statue from Fountain Square, one of the city's best known landmarks. The text at the bottom states the day the city was established, the day Mallory was elected and the city motto; "Juncta Juvant," which means "strength in unity."

2) The $4,256 "Pete Rose" bill:


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Front.


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Back.

"Wait a minute, that's not Pete Rose! Isn't that Ramon Hernandez?" Yeah, ok, it is Ramon Hernandez. The idea for a Pete Rose bill came courtesy of Venkman. In theory, this bill would feature a 1985 photograph of Pete Rose in the center, the year he broke the hit record, but I wasn't alive in 1985. Well, shouldn't it at least have a photo of Pete Rose? Sure, it should, but I've never seen Pete Rose or photographed him. I have, however, inadvertently taken a photograph of the scoreboard at Great American Ballpark and Ramon just happened to be up there. So for all intents and purposes we're going to substitute Mr. Hernandez for Mr. Rose...you get the idea and it was just too damn hard/time consuming to attempt to draw Pete Rose. Anyways, the front features the number 4,256 displayed prominently twice, once for how many dollars the bill is worth and once for how many hits Pete Rose had in his career. The front would feature the signatures of "Treasurer" Dohoney and Peter Ueberoth, the MLB head honcho when Pete broke the record. In the background on both sides of the bill we see the Reds current home, Great American Ballpark, while on the back a small line of text recognizes the Reds title as baseball's first professional team. Again, the blank spaces are where the polymer goes.

3) The $1,932 "Art Deco Series" bill:


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Front.


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Back.


The third bill is worth $1,932. Union Terminal was completed in 1933, the Carew Tower in 1931, 1932 is the year in between those times. Both structures are the two most recognizable symbols of Art Deco architecture in Cincinnati. The front of the bill features a photograph of the exterior of Union Terminal while the background photo is from the interior of the terminal's dome.

For the back of the bill I wanted to do something different. During one of my photo critiques back at Ohio University, former AP photographer Marcy Nighswander, the teacher of the class, remarked how much she loved vertical photographs and rarely saw them anymore. Since then I've tried to take a lot of vertical photos and since all currency I came across while researching this project was in a horizontal format, I thought it might be interesting to have a bill that could be viewed vertically as well as horizontally. Since the back of the bill features the tall Carew Tower, it can also be viewed vertically:


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Back.

The background image is of a panoramic photo I took of the Cincinnati landscape atop the Carew Tower. As stated earlier, the blank rectangles are where the polymer/serial numbers would go.

Overall I wanted the bills to commemorate Cincinnati history. If they were real they'd be some sort of Cincinnati gift card, equal to American dollars but only usable within the city limits, meaning you can't use them at the Kenwood Towne Centre. I wanted them to be photogenic and show off some of the cool aspects and landmarks of the city, sort of like a postcard on your duckets.

Thanks to everyone who helped give me ideas. I'm glad to be done with this project and this class. There are a lot of talented people in it and the teacher was cool, but the cost of art supplies and time it required really stressed me out. It was hard to balance the insane amount of work the assignments for this class required against my other classes, job and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.

Time to enjoy the holiday break and go explore abandoned buildings/take photographs of stuff.

P.S. I know Milton Dohoney is not the city treasurer, but he was the only other city official I could remember at the time when working on this.

Previous Update :: December 9, 2009 - "The Greatest Show in Town."

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6 comments:

  1. intents and purposes. not intensive purposes.

    ReplyDelete
  2. No, intensive purposes...these are extremely, extremely intense purposes.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Awesome project, hope you get am A on this.
    Good job.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Move the Union Terminal text block up a hair... These are really well done, Ronny. I like that you used exclusively your own photographs.

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  5. They all look nice, but the currency amounts, although they relate to Cincinnati history, are a tad unrealistic. It'd be extremely difficult to figure-out change and what-not when you have a $1,788-bill.
    Beyond that, good job.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Niggers are fail in all things. Cities run by niggers come to resemble Zimbabwe no matter where those cities might be physically located.

    ReplyDelete